Thus began a Politico article by
But it was the headline -- which she probably did not write -- that really completed the picture: "
That word, "disses," is just too perfect. For eight years the press has treated Obama like the protagonist in some stage play, personalizing his policy struggles as a heroic effort of one noble man fighting an army of partisans, racists and plutocrats. Even the word "dis" -- with its hip, slightly edgy connotation -- taps into the Cult of Obama, which sees any setback for the president as a personal, often illegitimate affront to his dignity.
For the record, the vote against Obama's veto was 97-1 in the
As I've noted before, the best explanation for what I'm talking about was written by the influential anonymous blogger Ace of Spades, in a 2013 post titled "The MacGuffinization of American Politics." In film lingo, a MacGuffin is anything the hero desires. It doesn't matter what it is. It can be the blueprints to a secret Nazi weapon, the formula for a cure to male pattern baldness or virtually anything else. In "Pulp Fiction," for example, we never learn what's inside the briefcase. In any story, all the audience needs to care about is that the hero cares about getting something.
Throughout Obama's presidency he has been the hero, and his agenda has been the MacGuffin.
"This is a movie," Ace wrote. "And
Ace adds: "It doesn't matter why the Hero Barack Obama wants the Lost Ark of Sensible Gun Control, or the Shankara Stones of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, or the Democratic Holy Grail of Affordable Health Care. These are very minor details and only matter to the extent the Hero exerts himself to achieve them."
I should add that on the actual policy question, I agree with Obama about the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). I think it's a bad idea, pushed by trial lawyers. But in "Politics: The Movie," lame duck Obama is outranked by the hero-victims of 9/11 in pursuit of their MacGuffin.
Alas, Obama didn't get script revisions.
"It's a dangerous precedent, and it's an example of why sometimes you have to do what's hard, Obama said this week. "And, frankly, I wish
This Olympian disdain for the motives of his political opponents has played well for Obama in the past. Which is why his scolding about hard work is so ironic.
Obama has always seen working with
As the Politico story makes clear, the
"There's been zero involvement from the
Asked why the
Why would even a Democratic senator know such a thing? That's never been part of the movie.